Register Thursday | June 20 | 2019

long sigh

Okay, what's done is done, and sitting around in sullen silence won't help anything. It's funny, I don't even feel as bad as I was expecting to. I've had the conversation - you know the one; it ends with words to the effect that if America's going to collapse, it might as well do so under the Republicans - about seven times in the last week.

I guess I'm mostly just freaked out about the size of the Christian right in the States. I'd never really thought about it before. And about their unholy marriage to the CEOs - didn't Jesus say something pithy about rich men and camels and eyes of needles once? (shrug).

It reminds me (here we go - this is how I start sentences when I'm being a bore) of the time I was teaching English in Istanbul several years ago. There had just been an election, and the fundamentalist party had won. This was around the same time that the Taliban were taking over Afghanistan, so I was a little bit worried.

"Relax," said my hostess, a secular, urban, upper-class Turk (and an utterly lovely person). "There'll be a coup."

"A coup!?"

Apparently - and this is a very skewed account from an ignorant foreigner, so please correct me if I'm wrong - the way the electoral system there works, or at least used to work, was that the peasants in the countryside would vote in a fundamentalist government, partly because they were devout and partly because the fundamentalists would offer them food, while the secular parties offered them nothing. Then, the military, which (when not decimating the Kurdish population in the south) is very serious about upholding Turkey's secular constitution, would stage a coup, and run things until a secular government was democratically elected, at which point they would graciously step down.

It's not democratic in the strictest sense of the word, the peasants are alienated and the Kurds are - let's make this clear, I loved Turkey in many ways, but their treatment of the Kurds is a massive blot on their national integrity; comparable to Canada's historical treatment of Aboriginal people, let's say - but the secular urbanites are happy, and the Taliban never get a foothold.

"Don't worry," she said. We were smoking out on her balcony. "A few tanks roll down the street, you get the day off work, by tomorrow everything's much better."

I am not for a moment suggesting that a military dictatorship is a viable solution for America's problem with theocratic creep. (Although it would tend to bring the boys back home.) I guess I'm just wondering what the hell's next...I mean, four more years of Bush Bans Gay Marriage and Bush Escalates Fallujah Conflict and Bush Mandates New Nationwide School Curriculum Based On 'Left Behind' Series and Bush Brings On the frickin' Rapture... realistically, that's about it.

But there's a drawer in my brain labelled 2024 full of random silly junk including a cartoon image of a New York socialite, waving a bejewelled hand at the wide-eyed hick perched on her ottoman, and saying 'Relax! A few tanks roll down the street, you get the day off work...'